THE personal bodyguard of former Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, has been arrested as startling revelations continue to unfold in relation to the March 10 execution-style killing of political activist Courtney Crum-Ewing.Identified as Rajput Narine, an employee of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the bodyguard was arrested by police in the city on Wednesday afternoon after investigations would have revealed that he had probably played a part in the murder.
Narine is the second suspect to be taken into police custody for the shooting death of the activist. The first arrest was made on Friday, July 17.
The arrest of the first suspect — Reagan Rodrigues, aka ‘Grey Boy’ — came some four months after the death of Crum-Ewing. However, because he does not want to hamper the investigations, Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud would not reveal the identity of the suspect.
According to reports, prior to the gunning down of Crum-Ewing, Narine had allegedly approached Grey Boy with an offer of several million dollars to execute an Opposition activist, but the offer was refused.
Police sources are maintaining that ‘Grey Boy’, apprehended on Friday last, is the trigger man who sent the activist to his grave.
Meanwhile, former Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, yesterday sought to distance himself from any form of personal affiliation with the man who once served as his bodyguard. He contended that Narine served in his employ after the death of Crum–Ewing.
In a press briefing held at the Sleepin Hotel on Brickdam yesterday, it was explained that while the activist Crum-Ewing had for months protested in front of the Legal Affairs Ministry when Nandlall was the sitting Minister, Nandlall had never once interacted with or spoken to Crum–Ewing. This was explained by Nandlall himself, who added that the activist was shot and killed on March 10, 2015, nearly two months after he had ceased protesting at the Ministry.
Nandlall said he did not deem Crum-Ewing a threat to himself or the PPP. The former AG related that during the time of the execution, he was speaking at a public political meeting comprised of approximately 100 persons in front of the Kali Mandir at Timehri, East Bank Demerara. He said he was on his way down from that meeting when he was informed of the death of the activist who had been advocating his removal from office.
According to Nandlall, following this incident, “wild allegations” had surfaced implying that the PPP was involved in Crum-Ewing’s killing. As a result, he was advised to employ security at both his home and as personal body-guards.
He had then made contact with the Guyana Police Force (GPF), and armed security from the GPF had been provided at his house. “I was offered the opportunity to retain a person of my choice as my body-guard,” he explained.
Nandlall said that, on March 12, he left the shores of Guyana to accompany then President Donald Ramotar to New York without the use of personal security. In New York, Ramotar held several meetings with the Guyanese community, and at one of those meetings, Nandlall met with an old acquaintance, Anter Narine.
“As we were chatting [at the meeting], the Crum-Ewing issue came up, and I told him that I was advised to hire a personal security upon my return, and that I intend to do so. He [Anther Narine] informed me that he has a brother in Guyana, Rajput Narine, who is a former CANU Officer and who is a licensed firearm holder, and who is a person whom I can trust; and that I should consider hiring him,” the former Attorney General told reporters yesterday.
Anther Narine presented him with his brother’s number, which Nandlall used to contact the man upon his return. On March 15, 2015, the two had a meeting which, Nandlall said, was the first time he had ever seen or spoken to Rajput Narine.
“I met him in the presence of my driver who knew him from before,” he said. He added that when he explained the task at hand to Rajput, the latter was willing to work, but informed him that he was still in the employ of the GRA and a letter was needed to indicate to the Commissioner-General of that entity that Nandlall desired his secondment. The following day, Narine was seconded, and commenced working with the then AG.
A premature termination of Narine’s employment would, however, follow, as Nandlall related that he was “dissatisfied” with Rajput’s performance within four days.
“More importantly, my drivers reported that he was disclosing our whereabouts to persons on his telephone,” Nandlall said, adding that it was at that time that Narine was informed that his services were no longer required, and he was sent away. A “back-up vehicle” which was assigned to Narine was also “taken back” through directives from Nandlall.
Following Narine’s dismissal, the former Minister said, he did not meet or hear from Narine again.
Two members of the Guyana Police Force were then requested as Narine’s replacement to Nandlall, which the Commissioner of Police granted. The two officers were then recalled when he demitted Governmental office.
Reiterating his ignorance regarding the circumstances surrounding the execution of the political activist, Nandlall denied involvement in same, and stated that any attempt to implicate him or the PPP in this “horrendous act” is part of a political design.
Quizzed by the media on whether background checks had been done on the now suspect, Nandlall admitted that he had failed to do so, and had relied on the fact that Narine had been a licensed firearm holder.
“He was, as I said before, a former CANU officer. He was a licensed firearm holder. He was in the employ of GRA. I assumed that he was a person of good character, because that is the ground upon which one gets a firearm licence,” the former Minister explained.
Noting that he is not a very security-conscious person, Nandlall explained that perhaps greater background examination was needed on his part.
Maintaining that he had no involvement in the execution of Crum-Ewing, Nandlall stressed that he would have to be “very stupid” to know that Narine had been fingered in the murder and still employ him as his personal bodyguard. “I have to be insane were I to do that” he said.
Courtney Crum-Ewing, well known for his one-man protests, was shot dead on March 10, 2015 at Third Avenue, Diamond Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara while urging residents to vote against the then ruling PPP at the May 11 General and Regional Elections. The 40-year-old Golden Grove resident was shot five times about the body.
Just recently, self-confessed ‘death squad’ member Shawn Hinds sought to clear his name in the murder during an exclusive interview with Travis Chase of HGPTV Nightly News on Tuesday, July 21, and has since pointed fingers at two activists of the now Opposition People’s Progressive Party, whom he said should be questioned by the police.
By Ravin Singh